View Poll Results: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not ?

Voters
19. You may not vote on this poll
  • I safely expect political polls to honest and accurate

    5 26.32%
  • Polls are just another tool to manipulate the public

    6 31.58%
  • Same polls are honest, some are dishonest

    8 42.11%
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Thread: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

  1. #11
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    If anyone can find a more accurate poll than Gallup, I hope they'll post up their proof.
    In recent years, Gallup's accuracy has been mediocre. Nate Silver has an analysis of Gallup's performance in the recent past, relative to other pollsters. Below are his pollster ratings, and here is his statistical methodology.

    (EDIT: Sorry, I'm having trouble uploaded the image showing the rankings. I've replicated the results below. Lower pollster-induced error (PIE) is better.)

    Poll Name: PIE
    ---------------------------
    Field Poll: +1.05%
    ABC / Washington Post: +1.12%
    SurveyUSA: +1.19%
    Ciruli: +1.20%
    U. Cincinnati / Ohio Poll: +1.25%
    Selzer & Co.: +1.31%
    NBC / Wall Street Journal: +1.53%
    AP-GfK: +1.56%
    Mason-Dixon: +1.57%
    Pew Research: +1.60%
    Gallup: +1.66%
    Market Shares: +1.68%
    Public Policy Polling: +1.69%
    Blum & Weprin: +1.70%
    Rasmussen Reports: +1.74%
    RT Strategies: +1.75%
    Farleigh Dickinson: +1.75%
    Rutgers: +1.76%
    Marist: +1.77%
    Siena: +1.77%
    Strategic Vision: +1.83%* (later removed from rankings entirely when SV polls were found to be fraudulent)


    If I understand their chart, they've been picking them right since 1936:
    It looks to me like Gallup has had several misses in the nationwide vote: They predicted Bush would beat Gore, they predicted Ford would beat Carter, and they predicted Dewey would beat Truman. Furthermore, several of the elections that they called correctly were blowouts, so they shouldn't get much credit for that. Of the elections where the popular vote margin was 3% or less, they only called 3 out of 6 correctly...no better than a coin flip. But ultimately, I think we should be less concerned with who they predicted would "win," and more concern with their margin of error as a percentage...and this is where Gallup has been mediocre in recent years.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-31-12 at 01:05 PM.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by PW4000 View Post
    When I hear the two (2) terms, "Scientific" and "Political Polls" in the same sentence, I typically chuckle. I used to laugh myself asleep, but that was many years ago. Today, I just smile and continue sipping my Pete's.

    There is no such thing as a "scientific political poll" regardless of how the poll might be skewed, Left or Right.
    Then there are the Las Vegas oddsmakers whos livings are determined by a good scientific methodology. A $300 dollar bet on Obama will win you a $100 dollar return. A $300 dollar bet on Romney will win you a $600 dollar return. Why the disparity from the polls in this discussion?

  3. #13
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    I don't think Gallup is biased....

    I'm starting to chuckle again.

    There are two (2) bias factors in Political Polling:

    a) Source
    b) Input

    Of course, they are biased. The "Bias" is built into the process of polling itself. Political polls are structurally incapable of producing anything other than biased results.

    To explain this, simply take a piece of Enterprise Software. Such software is used by companies and organizations to do many things. A company my want to gain better insight into how it relates to its customers and to provide its customers with a better point-of-contact experience. After going through the RFI/RFP process with several software companies, it makes a decision to invest in a CRM solution.

    The Customer Resource Management software is capable of doing a lot of different things to help the company understand its relationship to its customers. One of the "features" of such a solution, gives the company an ability to "Poll Customer Data" contained (typically) inside a DW (Data Warehouse) - a glorified database. The raw polling can be done from within the database, but the CRM solution offers a "ready made" function for doing such polling.

    When the company polls that kind of data, it can then use that data for real Scientific purposes: Analysis, Research, Optimization, blah, blah, blah. There is no Source Bias to that kind of data and there is no possibility to produce Input Bias. That's just one example of how you can do real "polling" of a source for use in a Scientific process.

    In a political poll, the Source (the polling entity) and the Input (the entity responding to the poll) are subject to bias that comes from cross ideological conflict, because of the way the Source might phrase the query within the poll. So, the problem comes BEFORE the query is ever delivered to the respondent, which sets up one layer of bias, and then the interpretation of the query by the respondent (based on the respondents own ideological bent) sets up a second layer of bias. This process of endemic bias is perpetuated by the fact that precious few political polls ask ONLY one question. Most polls ask a myriad of questions, for which there can be shifting Source bias within each query, leading to overlapping cross ideological conflict in the respondent.

    Can you trust these polls? Only to some degree. Their accuracy shifts over time and can become less accurate the closer you get to the actual day of the election. Are these polls "Scientific?" Not, unless you favor altering the definition of what "Science" means. The level of bias that is inherent to the process itself, makes them unlikely candidates for scientific discovery.

    However, even a clock is going to be correct twice a day.
    Last edited by PW4000; 10-31-12 at 01:17 PM.

  4. #14
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    I generally trust the Gallup polls.
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFagan View Post
    Then there are the Las Vegas oddsmakers whos livings are determined by a good scientific methodology. A $300 dollar bet on Obama will win you a $100 dollar return. A $300 dollar bet on Romney will win you a $600 dollar return.

    Why the disparity from the polls in this discussion?
    - Source Bias
    - Input Bias


    As outlined above in my post.

  6. #16
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    No vote, as per usual
    All of the choices are true to varying degrees.
    I must agree with PW4000.
    I think that man is inherently dishonest....the polls are of limited value....

  7. #17
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    In recent years, Gallup's accuracy has been mediocre. Nate Silver has an analysis of Gallup's performance in the recent past, relative to other pollsters. Below are his pollster ratings, and here is his statistical methodology.

    (EDIT: Sorry, I'm having trouble uploaded the image showing the rankings. I've replicated the results below. Lower pollster-induced error (PIE) is better.)

    Poll Name: PIE
    ---------------------------
    Field Poll: +1.05%
    ABC / Washington Post: +1.12%
    SurveyUSA: +1.19%
    Ciruli: +1.20%
    U. Cincinnati / Ohio Poll: +1.25%
    Selzer & Co.: +1.31%
    NBC / Wall Street Journal: +1.53%
    AP-GfK: +1.56%
    Mason-Dixon: +1.57%
    Pew Research: +1.60%
    Gallup: +1.66%
    Market Shares: +1.68%
    Public Policy Polling: +1.69%
    Blum & Weprin: +1.70%
    Rasmussen Reports: +1.74%
    RT Strategies: +1.75%
    Farleigh Dickinson: +1.75%
    Rutgers: +1.76%
    Marist: +1.77%
    Siena: +1.77%
    Strategic Vision: +1.83%* (later removed from rankings entirely when SV polls were found to be fraudulent)




    It looks to me like Gallup has had several misses in the nationwide vote: They predicted Bush would beat Gore, they predicted Ford would beat Carter, and they predicted Dewey would beat Truman. Furthermore, several of the elections that they called correctly were blowouts, so they shouldn't get much credit for that. Of the elections where the popular vote margin was 3% or less, they only called 3 out of 6 correctly...no better than a coin flip. But ultimately, I think we should be less concerned with who they predicted would "win," and more concern with their margin of error as a percentage...and this is where Gallup has been mediocre in recent years.
    I think we should be more concerned with what the politicians actually stand for and their track record instead of so many simply going with the majority from polls. Overall, I think they really hurt the whole process by convincing some they have already lost, so they don't vote and try to influence those who won't think for themselves to follow the crowd. All political polls distribution should be limited to just the campaigns and never publicly published. That way the campaigns get the benefits and are able to formulate strategy but the voting public is not influenced.
    Only a fool measures equality by results and not opportunities.

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